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Critic editor Joel MacManus (supplied)
Critic editor Joel MacManus (supplied)

MediaMay 29, 2018

Bloody hell, what a week: Critic’s editor on the Menstruation Issue furore

Critic editor Joel MacManus (supplied)
Critic editor Joel MacManus (supplied)

In this editorial from the current issue of Critic, Joel MacManus looks back on week in which his small student magazine became a global news story.

There are too many things I want to say and too little space to say them in, so here’s a big ol’ list of random thoughts about the Menstruation Issue.

  • It wasn’t 500 copies that were taken from stands, as Otago University have insisted; I reckon it was somewhere around 1500-2000 copies. We print 4500 copies. We put about 500 copies in halls, and normally have around 2000 copies picked up on Mondays. All the rest were taken.
  • The chief censor’s office was cool with it. “While the image does depict an explicit view of female genitalia, the image is not sexualised, nor is it particularly degrading or dehumanising.”
  • The Uni’s statment that we removed copies from the Public Library isn’t true. We never got a complaint from the Library. In fact, Public Library general manager Simon Pickford said he wasn’t aware of any complaints and that “I would be surprised (and disappointed) if it had been a staff member.”
  • We removed them from the hospital after a polite request. It wasn’t even a complaint. They asked us to put them in the Medical School instead of the foyer.
  • We were the number one most read story on The Guardian World News for most of Wednesday, just above North Korean peace talks. That seems wrong.
  • Andrew Geddis is a boss on Twitter. I officially forgive him for giving me a C in Law and the Democratic Process. Admittedly, I only took the class because it was called LAWS420.
  • Holy fuck there are a lot of people in media who used to work for Critic.
  • It wasn’t [Otago University vice chancellor] Harlene Hayne; she was cool with the issue.
  • Although I received an apology from Dave Scott, the Proctor, I personally suspect it wasn’t him either. He’s just being a good boss and taking the fall.
  • I found about 60 copies in a cardboard recycling skip. Come on guys, if you’re going to censor us, at least recycle properly.
  • The Womens+ Club made stickers and spent hours stapling them inside the front cover. The fact that all that work went to waste was a real shame.
  • Critic had nothing to do with the protest on Friday or the posters [of the cover] that were put up around the uni.
  • Some of the posters were in unauthorised spots. But even ones that were on the bollards where they are allowed to be were torn down.
  • A Campus Watch officer told someone that they were tearing down posters because Harlene Hayne didn’t like it. Sounds like some serious miscommunication going on there.
  • CNN rang me at 1:30 am. Learn how time zones work, dude.
  • The Guardian, BBC, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, and the Belgian Het Laatste Nieuws all reported it without blurring the image. The Spinoff was the only New Zealand media outlet to publish it without blurring.
  • Interestingly, NewsHub was the only outlet to blur the little penis as well.
  • It’s not ‘The Critic’. It’s just ‘Critic’.
  • Lastly, my favourite comment from Andrew Geddis. “The day that university campuses become safe places that cannot possibly offend seven or ten-year-old children is the day we should turn out their lights and lock their doors. Because then they will have no reason to exist anymore.”

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